Is your plant collection missing a small, cute cactus? You should get yourself a Button Cactus plant.
Epithelantha micromeris, commonly known as Button Cacti, are unique-looking succulents that can make amazing houseplants. They are perfect additions to rock gardens, to cacti and succulent collections, or you can place them around your home in cute hanging baskets. Button Cactus plants don’t require too much care as they have pretty much the same needs as most succulents.
Ready to find out how to grow and care for Button Cacti? Keep reading!
About Button Cactus
- The botanical name of Button Cactus is Epithelantha Micromeris, but it is also commonly known as the Ping-pong Ball Cactus.
- This plant belongs to the Cactaceae family, and it natively grows in Madagascar.
- Button Cactus plants can be great additions to rock gardens but can also fit in any arrangement you can possibly think of. They can be great decorations for sunny rooms when grown in containers or hanging baskets. So, you can decorate your home or office with these cute and easy to grow cacti.
- Like most succulents and cactus species, Button Cactus plants love sunny spots, where they get full sun, but can also adapt to partial shade. Considering that they are Madagascar-native, it’s no surprise that they perform best in bright, direct sunlight. We recommend finding a sunny spot in your home or office to keep your Button Cactus plant.
- Button Cactus plants have typical watering needs for most succulents. They don’t like wet feet, are extremely sensitive to root rot, and need well-draining soil. So, avoid overwatering your Button Cactus plant. How to make sure you don’t overwater your plant? Allow the soil to dry before adding more water and make sure your container has drainage holes.
- Unlike most other cacti that use their ribs as storage devices, Button Cactus plants have raised tubercles from which spines emerge. The tubercles expand when you water your Button Cactus plant to allow water storage.
- Button Cactus plants love warm temperatures but can also survive subzero temperatures, not lower than 20° F (-6.7° C). If you live in an area with a cold climate that regularly gets subzero temperatures, it’s best to grow your Button Cactus indoors because this plant is not cold-hardy.
- If you choose to grow your Button Cactus indoors, you don’t have to worry that it may be a danger for your kids or pets. Button Cacti are generally not considered to be toxic to animals or people.
- Although not toxic, the spines of Button Cactus plants may be irritating to the skin. We recommend using gloves when planting or handling a Button Cactus plant.
Button Cactus Features: An Overview
- Button Cacti are small, round plants that grow up to 12 inches (30.5 cm) tall and up to 36 inches (91 cm) in diameter.
- Button Cactus plants have a dark green color and are covered with many small, white, or gray radial spikes. The plants feature so many spikes on the surface that only some of the green body of the Button Cactus plants actually shows through. That is why some people wrongfully believe that Button Cactus plants are completely white or grey.
- When they bloom, these plants produce small flowers that have pink-white color and are considered to be some of the smallest flowers produced by all species of cactus. How cute is that?
- The flowers produced by Button Cactus plants are edible and feature cylindrical, bright-red fruits that have few black seeds.
Growing Button Cactus
As mentioned above, caring for these small, cute plants is extremely easy, especially if you already have some succulents or cacti in your garden. Button Cactus plants have pretty much the same type of needs as most succulents. But, don’t worry, even if you are a novice grower, caring for a Button Cactus plant shouldn’t be too difficult.
That being said, let’s see what you need to do in order to grow a healthy and happy Button Cactus!
First, to make sure that your Button Cactus plant thrives, you need to pay attention to its lighting requirements. As mentioned above, Button Cacti love full, direct sunlight. In fact, for that reason, these plants are better grown outdoors where they get strong light than indoors.
So, we recommend you to find the sunniest spot in your home or garden and keep your tiny cacti there. However, even if they thrive in bright sunlight, Button Cactus plants are versatile and they can easily adapt to partial shade.
Besides providing your Button Cactus plant with a lot of sunlight, you can also encourage growth with some fertilizer, especially during the growing season. At a minimum, like most cactus plants, Button Cacti need to be fertilized once a year. However, it would be wise to feed your Button Cacti 2-3 times per year in the spring, summer, and fall with a mild fertilizer.
How to Plant Button Cactus
Planting a Button Cactus is really easy as long as you keep in mind all the basic growing requirements of succulents and cacti in terms of soil, temperature, and lighting.
What’s really important to consider is that Button Cacti need soil that provides good drainage. Remember that succulents and cacti are generally very sensitive to overwatering and root rot. Therefore, you need to plant them in soil that allows water to pass through it.
To prepare well-draining soil for your Button Cactus, you can use potting soil, turface, and crushed granite. Crushed granite is the most crucial ingredient because it will form air pockets allowing water to flow freely, thus, protecting your plant from getting too much water.
Next, pay attention to the climate and temperatures preferred by Button Cactus plants. As mentioned above, these plants thrive in warm temperatures, but they can survive subzero temperatures, down to 20° F (-6.7° C). Yet, Button Cacti are not cold-hardy, so you shouldn’t make them sit for too long in cold temperatures. If you live in a zone that gets colder than 20° F (-6.7° C) regularly, it’s best to plant your Button Cactus in a container that you can bring indoors during the cold season.
What’s more, before deciding where to plant your Button Cactus, remember its lighting needs. It does well in full to partial sun. So, if you want to plant it outside, find a spot in your garden where it will get at least 6 hours of sunlight every day. If you plant it in a container and grow it indoors, make sure you place the container in a sunny spot of your home where your Button Cactus gets strong light, such as near a southern-facing window.
Watering Button Cactus
If you don’t want to kill your Button Cactus plant, don’t overwater it! This is the most important aspect and you should always remember it when growing succulents and cacti. Button Cactus plants are really sensitive to overwatering and root rot, and they hate wet feet.
Remember that these plants are Madagascar-native, meaning they are used to dry tropical climate and very little rain. So, Button Cacti need a lot less water than most succulents. The key to a healthy Button Cactus plant is never to let it sit in wet and soggy soil.
How do you make sure you’re not overwatering your Button Cactus plant? It’s really easy! We recommend using the “soak and dry” method to know when your plant needs more water. In other words, all you have to do is to let the soil in the container dry out completely between waterings.
An important thing to know: If, by mistake, you pour too much water into your Button Cactus plant’s container, don’t let it sit there because this may hurt your plant. Allow your plant a few minutes to get as much water as it needs, and then make sure to pour off any excess water.
Propagating Button Cactus
Propagating Button Cactus plants isn’t that complicated either. These plants can be propagated from seeds or stem cuttings. As it is with most succulents and cacti, propagation by division is typically easier and more successful than propagation by seeds.
If you propagate your Button Cactus by stem cutting, remove the offset from your mature plant using a sterile and sharp knife. Next, you need to set the offset aside for a few days so that it develops a callus on the cut, which means that the cut has healed. After the cutting has developed the callus, you can place it in fresh soil, leave it dry for a week, and then start caring for it as you do for your mature Button Cactus plant.
If you want to propagate Button Cactus from the seeds, we recommend doing it indoors. Place the seeds in fresh soil, and use growing lights and a seed mat to increase the success chances.
Are you ready to add some unusual-looking cactuses to your plants’ collection? Button Cactus plants are really easy to grow and care for, and they make adorable green decorations in any indoor or outdoor environment. You can plant these cute cacti in beautiful containers or hanging baskets and you can also use them in succulent and cacti mixes. They pair well with Sedum clavatum and pretty much any other small succulent that has similar needs.
You are now ready to grow a Button Cactus! Share your experience with us in the comments!